7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling Gadgets

I call them Chromebook Pixel apologists. They're coming out of the woodwork to defend Google's super-expensive but flawed $1,299 laptop. You'll hear things like "It obviously isn't for everyone" or "You either get it or you don't." Count me as one of the people who don't get it. As I say in my Chromebook Pixel review, the quality, sharper-than-Retina display, booming speakers and superior touchpad and keyboard all make this a lust-worthy machine. But the Pixel's beauty isn't much more than skin-deep. If Google really wants to convert more shoppers to its flagship anti-MacBook, it's going to have to address the following issues head-on. And, yes, I'm sorry to say that some of my fixes will have to wait for Chromebook Pixel 2.

Staying on the cutting edge of gadget tech doesn't come without a few sacrifices—both monetarily and in terms of battery life. And what good is an HD display if you can't even use it? Laptop Mag's Mark Spoonauer breaks down the worst drainers in detail.


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

Microsoft Surface Pro ($899)

Battery Life: 4:37
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $195 per hour

You know it's a bad sign when the top tech story in Google News is that you might be offering an external battery for your product. Despite its Core i5 power and the ability to run both desktop and Windows Store apps, we don't recommend the Surface Pro because its 4 hours and 37 minutes of battery life completely undermines its portability. The average ultraportable laptop lasts about an hour and a half longer. And while the iPad isn't as versatile, it lasted 12 hours and 22 minutes on our battery test. That's 2.5X the endurance. If you opted for the $799, 128GB iPad, that works out to $64 an hour of juice, compared to $195 per hour for the Surface Pro.


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

Acer C7 Chromebook ($199)

Battery Life: 4:24
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $45 per hour

Lets take a look at two Chromebooks with around the same price: the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook ($249) and Acer C7 ($199). Both devices sport 11-inch displays, but the ARM-powered Chromebook lasted 7:34, while the C7 lagged more than 3 hours behind at 4:24. Granted, the C7 isn't designed to be your primary PC, and maybe you will use it mostly around the house. But why would you pay $45 per hour of battery life for the Acer when, for just $50 more, you can get the much more efficient, $33-per-hour Samsung Chromebook? The Series 3 also happens to sport a sleeker design.


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

ASUS Taichi ($1299)

Battery Life: 4:37
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $282 per hour

One of the most innovative Windows 8 hybrids of the year is also one of the most disappointing. Almost everyone who sees the ASUS Taichi, which has a second screen on the back of its lid, can't help but say, "Wow." All you have to do to transform this 11.6-inch wonder from clamshell to tablet mode is shut the lid.

While we wish both displays offered touch capability (just the outside one does), my biggest complaint is the lack of staying power. In laptop mode, the device lasted 4 hours and 37 minutes, and with just the touchscreen active, we saw only 3:37. The average ultraportable laptop lasts 1.5 hours longer. While it's bigger, the $1,199, twelve-inch Dell XPS Duo lasted 5:46, translating to a much better efficiency rating of $206 per hour.


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

Google Nexus 4 ($49 for T-Mobile, $299 Unlocked)

Battery Life: 4:36
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $10.70 per hour for T-Mobile, $65 Unlocked

If you want a pure Google experience, the unlocked Nexus 4 is the smartphone to buy. You get the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, a nifty Photo Sphere camera and absolutely no ugly skins. Too bad the 2100 mAh battery inside this handset lasted only 4 hours and 36 minutes on our battery test. Even when you consider the cheap, limited-time-offer price of $49, you'll still have to deal with a device that lasts 1.5 hours less than the average Android phone. The $49 HTC One VX lasted 6:58 on our test, good for a $7 per hour efficiency rating.


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

HP Pavilion Chromebook ($329)

Battery Life (Rated): Up to 4:15
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $78 per hour

We give HP credit for being transparent about the battery life it expects out of its Pavilion Chromebook. The company says "up to" 4 hours and 15 minutes via the 4-cell battery. Even if the system lives up to that not-so-lofty number, it will lag way behind the Samsung Chromebook's score of 7:34. Granted, HP's Chromebook has a much larger, 14-inch display, but it also costs $80 more for something you can't use for very long away from an outlet.

Put another way, you'll pay $78 per hour of endurance, versus $33 per hour for the Samsung. That's nearly a 2.5X premium.


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

Techno Source Kurio Tablet ($149)

Battery Life: 3:37
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $39.50 per hour

You might have heard of the Kurio 7 tablet, because it's targeted directly to families. This $149, Android-powered device lets you create multiple child profiles with ease, as well as restrict screen time and Web surfing. Parents can also choose to whitelist only the apps they want Junior to use. But what good is a kids' tablet if it runs out of gas in just 3 hours and 37 minutes? That works out to $39.50 per hour. The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire HD lasted 7:34 (or $26 per hour), and it has a parent-friendly FreeTime mode. And the $199 Fuhu Nabi 2 didn't conk out until 8:05 ($24.50 per hour).


7 Worst Battery Life-Guzzling GadgetsS

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist ($899)

Battery Life: 4:36
Cost Per Hour of Juice: $195 per hour

Here's a twist on the Windows 8 convertible you should probably avoid. The 12.5-inch ThinkPad Twist combines a swiveling touchscreen with one of the better keyboards you'll find. We especially like the stand mode for giving presentations. Just make sure you're near an outlet. On our battery test, the Twist died after 4 hours and 36 minutes. The average ultraportable notebook lasts 6:01. Although it has a slightly larger display, Lenovo's own IdeaPad Yoga lasted a much longer 6:18. In efficiency terms, the $899 Twist would cost you $195 per hour of juice, compared to $182 per hour for a $1,159 Yoga outfitted with a much faster 128GB SSD. That's an easy call in my book.

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Republished with permission from Laptop Mag. Laptopmag.com brings you in-depth reviews of the hottest mobile products, the latest tech news, helpful how-to advice, and expert analysis of the latest tech trends.